My first attempt at writing an address to the YBB community was disrupted by news of people crawling over the Capitol’s walls like ants.  The tension we feel in our community both locally and nationally is tightening. It brings sharpness and clarity to YBB’s role as an organization. 

We know that true yoga is not a doctrine of avoidance but rather is one of constructive confrontation. Healing requires cleansing and light. Cleansing requires an identification of the illness. We must name evils and bring them into the open to address them.  I am reminded of the yogic values of truth and non-violence. How often these two values seem to contradict!  Whenever I feel this struggle and this sense of overwhelming load, I remember the advice of many community organizers: focus on the work. 

As is ever our goal at YBB, we’ve been doing the work. Over the last year and a half, the Board has developed a Strategic Plan that details the next steps of YBB’s journey as we mature into an established non-profit. This plan includes a focus on student and teacher programming, community and coalition-building, and fundraising. All three of these focuses are framed with our renewed commitment to addressing the issues of racial justice and mental health in our criminal justice system.  The strategic plan will be introduced to the public through the spring and summer. 

We are also excited to be rolling out our updated diversity statement in the near future. This statement has been the collaborative effort of several members of our community, including the Board and Staff. We plan to update it yearly as we learn more. 

I am grateful and flattered to have been elected as chair to this impactful and poignant organization, and look forward to supporting our Executive Director Julian Saucier as he continues at the helm.  I have big shoes to fill, but am grateful for the continued guidance of Sonia Duckworth, our outgoing Chair, who will remain on the Board.   I also look forward to the guidance and support of my co-chair Ashok Rajagopalan, our Secretary Kate Aitken, and our Treasurer MaryBeth Pecha. 

We continue to move forward despite the challenges last year and this one bring. Julian and I are excited to continue the work.  We hold space for our students and teachers, particularly in this time of increased confinement and isolation. We are with you, and connect with you in meditation and action until the time when we can reunite in person. We are working for you. 

For everyone in our community, thank you for everything you do. If ever you would like to contribute in efforts or ideas, please reach out. 

Holly D. Brauchli
YBB Board of Directors

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